We’re experiencing very trying times, and living situations none of us were prepared for. After a busy day at work, you probably wanted to have longer weekends to relax at home. But now the long weekend has overextended too much, and we have no idea what’s ahead in the future for us. Moreover, what are we going to do all this time?
I do hope you’re healthy and well, but even if you are, there’s something you’ve probably lost: your daily dose of physical activity. As little as it seems, striding your way through the busy corridors in your office, lifting the stairs to get your favorite Starbucks, and bringing your dog for an evening walk can be a significant source of physical activity. Now you don’t have them, and the dangers of inactivity and sedentary behavior are lurking behind your back, closer to your organism than any virus can be.
Why would you consider being more active at home, and how to do it when you have more time and little available space?
What good comes from exercise
If you’re not an athlete, and you’ve never been, chances are you won’t be interested in building strong muscles in times like this. But even if a sculpted body is not your goal, exercise is actually a holy grail in medicine (I’m an M.D.). Yes, it has countless applications and health benefits in almost every system and organ of the body. The topic is quite lengthy and very interesting, but I’ll do you a favor and summarize the information in quick and easy bullet points:
- Being active prevents muscle loss and progressive weakness, very common problems as we age
- Physical activity reduces our cardiovascular risk in many ways. For example, it lowers blood pressure, improves our blood lipids, and more
- People who stay active have a lower chance of metabolic disease, especially diabetes because our cells become more sensitive to insulin signals
- Keep moving around stimulates good digestion and thermogenesis, as opposed to sinking in your couch after a large meal
- Exercise stimulates blood circulation, reducing symptoms such as fatigue, inattention, and slow reaction time
- It is usually easier to stay focused and productive if you live an active lifestyle
- The immune system is stimulated by exercise, and protects your body more efficiently
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, improving your mood, balancing your mental health
- It is a great way to use your spare time
So, even if you’re not into bodybuilding, why not taking a time these days to be more active? Easier said than done, you may think. But it is not nearly as difficult as you imagine.
Effective strategies to be more active at home
Being more active does not mean running a marathon going back and forth in your home. That’s what a French man did, running more than 26 miles on his 23-feet balcony. But you can take a different approach and try these ideas:
- Use a standing desk: Using your computer lying in your bed is the worst idea, and sitting too much is not good, either. But there are special desks you can use in a standing position. Standing and maintaining your balance activates the muscles of your core and lower extremities. It is an alternative way to work at home, and if you’re a handyman, you can use some extra time in a new DIY adventure.
- Take short breaks from digital screens: Every 20 to 40 minutes, take a 5-minute break from digital screens. Stand, walk around the room, go out to the balcony for a while, go to the kitchen and take a glass of water, or do some sit-ups if you like. Just set a timer and stop what you’re doing for a little while, even if you find it intrusive at first.
- Take the stairs instead: Do not use the elevator when you can take the stairs. True, touching the banister can be a source of infection in a shared area of your apartment, but you can always wash your hands after arriving home. As little as 30 seconds to 1 minute every day can make a real difference.
- Learn to dance and practice: Dancing is a very active way to release stress, and you can do it with your partner or by yourself. You can learn new steps or just go random, feeling the music in your body. Either way, it’s a fantastic source of exercise and fun you can try at home.
- Play more and be creative: You wouldn’t imagine how much energy your kids spend every day by playing around and being overactive. Spend more time with them and share wonderful moments. Do the same with your pets, especially if you have a dog. They will love the extra time with you.
- Exploit your own bodyweight: If you’re interested in bodyweight training -even if you’re just curious about it- read about exercises you can do at home. You don’t need to engage in complex or high-intensity exercises if you don’t want. Just stay active and use your own bodyweight to your benefit two days a week or more.
According to the World Health Organization, you need a minimum 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise. Achieving that much exercise is not hard, even at home, and the health benefits are tremendous. So, take a smart step forward and draw something positive from the present situation. You may even end up with a well-established habit of exercising every day, with significant health benefits for you and anyone who becomes interested in your new lifestyle. And of course, you can try yoga! See www.healthfitplace.com/yoga-challenge